ePassport business round-upAvenue Capital Management invests in Smartrac

Published 1 November 2006

Smartrac, leader in chip and antenna inlays for ePassports, has seen earnings triple since 2005; Avenue Capital buys 6 percent of company on open market, a clear sign of the strength of the market; worldwide demand estimated at 50 million

Amsterdam, Holland-based Smartrac, which has received little attention from investors since going public in July, redeemed that decision this week when it announced that New York-based Avenue Capital Management has scarfed up nearly 6 percent of the company. Smartrac is a leading supplier of chip and antenna inlays for electronic passports, with more than 10 million shipped so far and a scheduled delivery of 1 million units per month. The company earned revenue of €22.5 million in the first six months of this year, nearly double that of the same period in 2005. Earnings more than tripled to €4.7 million euros, the firm reported.

Although located in Holland, Smartrac’s production and research and development is in Bangkok, Thailand. Competitors include Sokymat, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Assa Abloy, and Ireland-based Aontech, which supplies inlays for the British passport program. Observers estimate the global market for inlays at 50 million units.

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